Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Fibromyalgia Christmas Wishes

Well folks, this is it. The last day of work for me, so I doubt I’ll be on again until the New Year just because once I switch off for Christmas, that’s pretty much it, as I like to be free from everything, even face book!

I’m going to risk saying that so far I seem to be having a slightly better run of things compared to this time last year, although I was not at the worst stage till January using a stick and being in a really horrible place mentally and physically, so I’m feeling very grateful that so far, the old heap of bones has decided to keep going for my sake and let me have some relief.

Now daft as that sounds, it’s not pain free. That’s the bit that never seems to go away. Particularly in the old neck. I keep thinking how lovely it would be just for one day to be able to sit at my desk at work, or on the sofa at home or eating dinner that my neck would just allow my head to be on top of it without arguing. I know that will never happen, but one day would be nice.

Try an exercise and see how you feel when you do this. Nothing drastic, just shrug your shoulders. How does it feel? Well, for me right now, it feels like one shoulder is light as a feather and one shoulder is heavy as lead and won’t move, like all the muscles have solidified on one side. My neck right in the middle at the back (the bit you always rub when you are feeling tired) is just nagging and if I try to touch my chin to my chest I feel winded by it. I move it round and it crunches and cracks and it is one thing that will always be there, but, and I say but in a good way, it’s not as bad as it has been.

The massager has helped loads just loosen things up and you can feel it when you don’t use it for a few days as everything starts getting tighter again (except my backside, no fair).

My two toes on my left foot have definitely gone arthritic now. They feel really stiff and I can’t wriggle them as well, and if I sit down for too long then start walking they are really painful like I’ve upset them by moving them. Not happy about that as over time it may affect how I walk, and that’s one thing that will make my neck and back issues even worse given I’m already off centre, this would really not help.

My hip is sore on the right as well compensating for a dodgy knee and I have this sharp point where if I touch it, it’s really tender. Sounds like I’m moaning on, but really, these are positives in the grand scheme of things, as I can actually pin point the pains rather than the ‘everywhere’ I was suffering with last year.

And sleeping has been interesting. I’ve been feeling my usual self going to bed, same amount of moving about but I’ve been so tired when I’ve got to the early hours, I could sleep and sleep and getting out of bed has been hard work. I know it’s darker, colder, damper etc and hardly motivating, but I’ve been proper tired which is not like me. I’m always tired, but this is REALLY tired. So maybe I’m going to be able to take advantage having some time off staying in bed a bit longer, and even half an hour is going to be of benefit so here’s hoping!

I’m looking forward to the time off, and seeing the kids enjoy Christmas. I’m not one for extravagance, going mad, spending like it’s the last day of your life, piling food in trolley’s like the shops will never open again, but I do like having the time off, no schedule, routine, no promises or commitments to anyway, just chilling out and doing what you feel like. And you get the bonus of playing with all the kids toys of course!

It’s going to be a busy start to next year already, and lots of things are already on the agenda for work, so I am going to make the most of chilling out, and not even thinking about it till I have too.

So all that remains for me to say now, is that I hope you all have a lovely holiday, and New Year. You all stay safe, well, warm, and hopefully as pain free as you can be.

Take care all.

Monday, 6 December 2010

A Fibromyalgia Christmas

Well, this is the first time in yonks I’ve posted. Hope everyone is doing OK.

I’ve had a few ups and downs since last posting. My son got a really bad sickness and poo bug then got better, and then we all came down with colds, and three weeks later mine is still here and my son got sick again (but with a cold this time).

And what about all this snow? Isn’t is something! Most of ours has gone now, just cold and icy instead. Was like pea soup in places this morning. Lots of traffic accidents. It does only take one or two though on major routes to cripple traffic. It makes you realise how seriously we depend on the roads being clear for simple things like getting to work. Imagine those who run distribution companies, or on line where you have things delivered. Our food supplies depend on transport. It’s quite scary to think how completely useless we would be without those things in place. Self sufficient we are not, not anymore anyway.

And the fuel costs. I’m sure all of us will be feeling that when our next few months worth of bills come in, especially when the old VAT goes up and cripples us even more. I read some report about working class families suffering more because the cost of everything is going up, and wages are just not covering things.

We got our Christmas decorations up at the weekend, it was nice to put them up. Got the place covered in bits of course, so we had to hoover again, but it looks nice now! Reckon we have done most of our shopping to. I am one of those people who hate’s crowds. Especially Christmas crowds with mad people buying things they will never need or use. I always say it every year when you see people cramming things into their shopping trolley’s in the assumption that for two days if they don’t buy enough food to feed the whole street they will somehow starve to death. And what then tends to happen is a lot of it gets chucked away, and left. I see a lot of that and then think about those poor cold souls who won’t get a Christmas dinner, or will sleep on the streets or end up freezing in their homes because they can’t afford to put the heating on. Makes me feel lucky to have things which to me, despite not being glamorous or the ‘latest’ thing, are amazing.

Don’t get me wrong. I love Christmas, but it’s the time out, the break, the spending quality time with hubby and the kids that’s important.

We were not sure what to do this year. Last year we had a curry for Christmas day and went out for it. It was so much fun and really good food too. This year we are at my in-laws. More so because they asked and it means we don’t have to cook, and the kids will enjoy it regardless.

People say it’s a time for family, but it does depend on the family! I’ve long since come to the conclusion that actually, it’s what you make of it, and sometimes no matter how hard you try, it’s just not enough. I have only so much to give, and I would like to think I am a generous person, who takes time to listen, cares what people think, makes an effort, and will be there in a heartbeat if it was needed. I don’t ask a lot either. I’m not materialistic, don’t want all the gadgets or masses or clothes etc, I’m happy just the way I am, but I do expect that a relationship needs to be a two way street, and when you consistently get let down having made all the effort, then you just can’t fight any more.

I can’t. I don’t have the energy. I’m tired. I work full time, I have to use my spoons wisely. I never have a full night’s sleep, and am always in some kind of pain, even though I don’t show it, it’s there dominating my every waking and most of sleeping minutes. I don’t complain because it could always be worse, but some days I get to the end of the day and I just can’t think anymore. I hate that my body has gone to pot and that I thought I could change the way some people are, or at least I thought they would change the way they treated me.

But there is only so much humanly possible, and my family at home are my number one, they have to be, so I’ve had to come to terms with some stuff in my head, things I’ve had simmering in my mind for a long time, and kind of had to accept how things will be. All sounds quite complicated doesn’t it, but it’s hard to go into detail.

Anyway, talking of bodies and gone to pot, I reckon my two toes on my left foot have gone arthritic. I broke my big toe many years ago on a wave machine not realising I had got to the shallow end and cracked it in the water putting my foot down. I then broke the one next to it recently, and thought with my buddy taping I’d done a reasonable job of it healing, but it’s been really painful the last couple of weeks. They both crack and groan but they have felt ice cold compared to the rest of my feet and the pain is horrible. They feel really stiff and sore so I’m guessing it didn’t heal as well as it could have done. I don’t even think there’s much I can do either since it’s already healed.

My neck has been reasonable, stiff, sore and cracking, but bearable if there is such a thing as bearable pain, and my lower back is threatening strike but the massager hubby got me is really helping just relax the muscles a bit which is good as I really need it this time of year.

I’ve now just got to get shot of this pain in my side. It’s my lower right hand side, not stomach, but just right of it, and I keep getting this pulsing pain which is really uncomfortable when it happens, then eases off. Seems to be worse if I do more as it eased off when I was laying in bed, then when I got up to see to the nipper it started up, then eased off and has been on and off all day now which is really rather annoying. I’ve got bottom end trouble as well, as I’m sure you were just dying to hear about, so heaven knows what that is all about.

I know I sound like a moan bag, but it has to come out somewhere so it may as well be here. Then once it’s out and moan about, it’s done with, so it cleanses the mind, which is a good thing.

So now I feel all cleansed, I should probably go and do something useful with it!!

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Lest we forget.....

Well, howdy doody folks! It’s been an age again as usual. I think I’m just getting a bit rubbish at keeping up with stuff like this.

I do have an excuse though, I am really busy at work, and honestly, some days I do not know where the time goes to.

Bonfire night has been and gone. One weekend is more than enough for me. You can call me a kill joy if you like, but one weekend of pops, bangs and ‘wwwhhhhheeeeeeeeeeeee’ is more than enough for me. I like the idea of fireworks, and organised shows are great, but a few days of it is more than enough.

Boy, I’ve got to tell you, I am tired. Real tired. Today is Armistice Day, a time to pay our respects to all those who died for the freedom this country enjoys. My grandfather fought in the war, came back a better man for it too. He was quite something I can tell you. Wear your poppy with pride today folks.

Today is also my birthday. I was born on Sunday 11th November in 1973. I wasn’t born at 11.11 though, that would be really weird! I arrived I believe at 2pm, early, a premature baby, should have been nearer Christmas time, but heh, I wanted to have a special birthday date. Proud of it too.

Anyway, I came into work this morning, logged on to face book and my mail at work and came into loads of lovely messages. Makes you realise how special people are when they take that little bit of time out of their busy lives just to give you that one sentence that really makes your day. So thank you to everyone who sent wishes. You are all lovely for taking the time to do so. I really do appreciate it, more than I could express here.

So, my son is one of life’s bad sleepers. I am hoping he’s just having the kids go through these things kind of things as I would hate to think I’ve landed him with my sleeping problems. He is also not your average text book child either. He doesn’t like crowds, too much noise and things that make him feel insecure in anyway. If there is a special event coming up, like today, or Christmas, other birthdays etc, he gets excited but this turns into serious restlessness for him and makes him anxious. This almost always happens and last night was no exception. I think he has been overexcited before going to bed, then fidgeted the whole time we were reading a bed time story, so I said we may as well go up. Little devil decided to be wide awake, even though really he was tired, just too much the other way. It took nearly an hour and a half to get him off. I was quite harsh, but I had to be. It’s easy to give in with him, he’s so darn cute, and you feel bad as a parent not being there, but they also need to know where the line is.

I felt bad, I did, I wanted to go and hug him but he needed to know mum meant business. He went off anyway, for a while! We went up just after 10.30 and before you knew it, he appeared! He climbed in with us, but as always, he just fidgets (he’s as bad as me), so before long hubby upped and took refuge in nipper’s bed and I was left with the small fidgety one who retained this routine all night (just like I did!).
What makes up for these things though is how they effortlessly and without even thinking give that wonderful unconditional love back to you. I felt this little arm come around me this morning and then I heard ‘Happy Birthday Mummy’ whispered in my ear. How sweet is that!

But I am fuzzy, not sleeping normally is one thing, not sleeping because I have someone else as bad as me next to me is a whole other thing. Responsibility to them, and not relaxing, that was the problem. I sleep terribly, but at least I’m chilled in my insomnia. With nipper next to me, it was like trying to dream with someone poking your ear all night!

But, with any luck he will be OK later and not too pooped to help me celebrate my birthday with my family later. I can’t wait to go home and be with them. It’s what makes everything just peachy doesn’t it. Even if we all end up exhausted, it will still have been a special day.

The only thing I would ask for though, is just for the wind and rain to give up a little. We need a bit of cheer, not all this horrible weather, it’s just rubbish isn’t it! I mean, who ordered this? I like the fact that I now won’t have to worry about all the leaves that fell off the tree near my house and covered my drive and lawn as they have been blown away. I just didn’t want half a ton of everyone else’s ta!

Hee hee! Oh well, I suppose we can’t have everything! At least I got shot of the headache. My neck has been a right royal pain the last couple of weeks, I think something upset it and it’s complained every since (more than usual), and so my neck played up, my shoulder muscles and neck muscles then knotted up and hence the tension headache came. Darn thing! Lasted a whole well so glad to be shot of that one for sure!

Here is to Remembrance day.

Friday, 22 October 2010

That time of year........

Wow, it’s like an age since I last updated this. Last time I was on here I had broken my toe hadn’t I?

Well, all has healed pretty well there, my toe does ache a lot in the cold, so maybe not healed 100% but well enough to not cause issues walking at least, so that’s something. I know exactly where it broke as this is the bit that aches, but otherwise, not bad at all!

My old boss retired and got a good send off. Everything went to plan from the lunch we had to all the gifts and stuff we got for him. It was really sad to see him go, but then we all have to accept that things have to change, and he had to retire sometime didn’t he!

So the new boss started and so far things are going well. We likened it to marriage. When you have lived with someone for so long you know everything about a person, their mannerisms, habits, all those little things that you get to know over the years, and we kind of had that with our old boss as some of us had worked with him for decades. I was only for 15 years, but when you do that day in, day out, you get to know people don’t you?

So as a group, we all know each other really well, so for someone new coming in, it’s a bit of shock when they are coming into a very closely knit and connected group. It’s like us all going on the first date again not knowing who they are, and how they take their coffee and if they like this or that. So it’s a learning curve for us and him, and I’m not sure who was more nervous that first day, but at least it went well. Until one of our other guys said he was also retiring, all be it early. So we had just started to recover from one shock, when we got hit with another.

It’s sad, but at the same time, the reasons were completely understandable and as I have always said, life is too short for regrets, and too short not to be happy and if you can do something about it, then that’s exactly what you should do, and we as a group need to learn that people have to move on sometimes, no matter how much we might miss them, they need to be happy.

So another leaving next week, and it’s sad having to arrange another collection and see all these speeches of farewell messages because of someone highly respected, but hopefully he will be happier for moving on and discovering other things in life less stressful and hopefully heaps more fun too.

Life wise, it’s busy! Things never seem to slow down lately, especially from a work perspective; so much going on right now, that time just flies by and never slows down. It’s really odd because I always used to think there was time for just sitting and contemplating but even that seems an effort these days.

I have a hundred things on the go, but it’s OK, I’m happy being busy, it means the working day goes faster and actually people appreciate what you do, and you can’t say fairer than that really can you?

Health wise, not too bad, my neck, knees and hands are starting to complain again at the moment. My right knee in particular is not a happy bunny and constantly complaining about something at the moment, like having to move I think. It’s not unbearable as such, just having to be more cautious because of the threat of it giving way etc. My fingers ache a lot right now, the cold of course doesn’t help at all, and my neck is jumping on the band wagon as well because of it, silly thing.
It’s the way it is of course, and things could be worse, so I feel quite lucky I’ve got off so lightly the last few months really, and I haven’t hit a flare for a while. Always niggles and pain of course, but nothing like when a flare hits, so touch wood, I am hoping it lasts.

I’ve noticed that keeping busy does tend to help a lot as it’s a distraction isn’t it. Sleeping has been as useless as always, and that’s no great surprise really with me. I think I’ve been annoying poor hubby a fair bit fidgeting about in bed not sleeping well, and the attacks of restless legs, which has been less frequent lately than the every night I was getting them, but always annoying when it does.

Still, compared to some people, I’ve been very lucky so far this past couple of months. I know for me and probably heaps of others the winter is the time they dread the most, as it seems to just exacerbate everything, but we shall see what happens.
Hard to believe we are already heading towards the end of October and Christmas is around the corner. Scary thought indeed that it seems to come round quicker every year as well. Seems like five minutes ago I was sunning myself on a gorgeous beach in Cornwall, and now we are putting the heating on and worrying about keeping warm and how quick Christmas is coming again.

Not that you can forget that Christmas is coming, it's everywhere, out in force almost before they have sold the last of the sun cream, and before you know there is tinsel everywhere. And cheap tacky toys, and all the tat they have saved especailly for this time of year. They do this because they know apart from the organised among us who will go out shopping early to avoid the inevitable nut cases who shop like it's their last shop ever and drive around like morons, that a lot of folks will go out shopping the last second they can and just buy whatever is there. So Aunty Mable will get wind screen wipers for the car she doesn't own, and Uncle Dave will get some bath oils he will never use and so on.....

Beware..... Christmas is coming!!!

Might have to invest in some completely non sexy thick cotton PJ’s this year and put warmth and comfort to the top of the list. I mean, nothing worth than being cold is there. To think this year I will be lucky enough to have the winter in a house where I can put the heating on and have hot food and drinks and snuggle up in a warm bed. There will be a lot of people out there who won’t get that.

Homeless people out on the streets, older people who won’t be able to afford to heat their homes or look after themselves properly, I’m very lucky in comparison.

Well, I could go on, but I won’t. It’s Friday afternoon and the weekend is nigh.
Take care all.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Toe Tragedy

Well, what’s been going in this week?

Umm, let’s think! I broke my toe! That’s what I did!

I had a lovely weekend doing bits and bobs and my friend came over with her trio of kids and a good day was had playing with trains and toys and catching up.

Monday I went to work as normal, and then came home. I walked in my front door downloaded my bag and stuff and took off my sandals. The top of my foot was itching, so you know when you scratch your foot on the carpet sometimes (or maybe that’s a just a weird me thing), I did that, so my piggy’s were all bent under my foot having a good scratch. As I was doing this, my bad knee gave way and I heard this ‘crack’ noise.

Now having OA (Arthur) at the grand old age of 36, means I tend to make some noise moving bits of me anyway. My neck crunches and grinds, my knees pop and click, my fingers crack etc and one of my toes (right foot, next to big toe) bends like a Barbie dolls leg, click, click, click to bend it. Rather weird, but this me we are talking about.

Anyhoo (I’ll get to the point honest). I hears this crack and thinks ‘That didn’t sound good’ but went into the kitchen then to the garden.

What I found was beyond all comprehension..............

One man, one lawn, one lawn mower, mutilated beyond recognition...............

Well, the darn thing had stopped working and in my poor husband’s state of despair he was trying hard to fix it, but doing what most people do when trying to fix something that seems to have more than one million moving parts to it.

He had taken it apart......

So there was said husband, in the middle of the lawn, bits of lawn mower everywhere, kids running around going slightly loopy down the side of the house, and me thinking ‘my toe REALLY hurts, why does it hurt’.

Mind you, he did fix it. Unlike most DIY build furniture where you end up with a screw left over you have no place to put it, the lawn mower was missing one, but none the less was working - hooray!

I was informed the water was at volcanic temperature so I could go and bath the small one first (at nice warm snuggly temperature), then we could then have a bath ourselves (getting warmer and warmer, you know how us women like baths!), and I could then get tea done. So I called the small person looping round the house, and started trotting into the kitchen still thinking ‘This still hurts’. So I had a look at my foot and noticed my wee piggy had gone purple.

Darn it, says I. I have broken my toe. HOW!?! Umm, easy little things to break, the wee piggy’s, but not impressed anyway!

So I hobbled up and did the bath thing, tea was eaten, and plates washed up, then hubby helped me get my toe strapped up. This is known as ‘buddy’ strapping to give the broken toe a kind of real life splint, and in most cases, this works well for broken toes to give them support.

However, I didn’t take any painkillers at all, and boy did I pay for it.

Tuesday wasn’t so bad, I was up early on a visit, and drove for almost 5 hours total, but actually wasn’t in too much pain. However, that evening was awful. I didn’t sleep a wink the whole night. Now only getting 2-3 hours a night in one thing. That tends to catch up with you at some point and knock you out for a night to force some serious shut eye, but no sleep at all is just horrible, especially when you are in pain. I felt sick and weak and probably some kind of delayed shock perhaps because I was not happy at all!

So I was not all there Wednesday, and my foot was killing me, so I did the sensible thing and had some painkillers. Better to take something than suffer that. And I know, really, I should have kept it raised and iced for a few days, no weight on it etc, but this is the real world, where there is work, and home and small people to think about so it’s just not practical.

I did elevate it though on a chair during a meeting (trying hard to keep ones eyes open), and I was very sleepy last night. I slept OK I guess, usual I would say and much more comfortable in the toe department.

It will take a few weeks to heal but I can use my walking stick for longer walks. I’m hobbling round the office at the moment and it’s doable, as long as I take my time. Problem is of course is you compensate for a weakness don’t you with the stronger leg, arm etc. In my case, I am hobbling on a bad foot, compensating with a bad knee. Not great, and it’s causing a great deal of pain in my hips because of it.

So what I should do is use my stick to take the strain. I don’t mind doing this out and about I have to say. I was a bit conscious of it before, but I figure now if I need it, I will use it. I’m not out for sympathy, I’m doing what is best for my body and trying to take care of the things that don’t work so well. I’m 36 years old and have many issues, but actually, I want to just get on with it. One way of being able to do that is by having a stick to help keep the strain off my hips, knees and feet. If you compensate too much, it upsets things. But one thing I haven’t done is use it around the office. To be honest, it’s more trouble than it’s worth because I am always up and down the stairs, or in and out of rooms with cups or stuff, so not going to happen.

I had people saying ‘you should have gone to A&E and get it checked out properly, but then there is the thought of sitting there for hours waiting to be told what I already know, and how to treat it which I am already doing. If I thought it was a traumatic fracture, I’d go of course. I have to be a bit careful though, as with having OA, it means potentially now I could get it in that toe. It’s already in my neck, hands, knees, one toe and possibly my lower back, so there’s a good chance this toe will get it if I let it heal badly, but I’ll look after my little piggy, honest!

So that was toe tragedy done and dusted!

Oh and I started a group for people all with the same surname as me! I was talking with hubby about the fact that there were quite a few of us around and he suggested starting a club so they could all be friends and see where we all come from.

I started it on Monday and I have to say it’s been great already. I reckon if we all did our family tree’s we would find links to being related. But there have been people from the UK to Australia joining the group and it’s fab! I love the fact that today we can have the ability to be in touch with people like this. Opens up the world we would never know about otherwise! So I’m looking forward to seeing just how many we can group together make some new friendships from it!

So all in all, I’m doing OK. I’m really tired, but I’m trying to heal I think and my body is having a power save moment so I’m feeling all useless and slightly floppy like I could just nod off, but at the same time, better than I did, so you can’t complain at that can you!

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Arthur, Indicators and Wide Spaces

Gosh, been a busy period since I last wrote.

I won’t even go into the amount of stuff I’ve been doing other than it has been keeping me busy, as has sneaking around trying to arrange a collection and card and farewell do for a manager no-one wants to leave in the first place. We all know we have to accept it, it’s just an unsettling thought knowing the end of an era is nigh and we are not sure what the future holds.

But as they say – change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.

I have been off and health wise. I am lucky to be having a fairly good run in terms of pain, which has been on a lesser level lately. Well, I say that, it’s odd really. You see there was some discussion the other day about whether or not you can have ‘flares’ with dear old Arthur (the osteo kind anyway), as you certainly do with RA and the other autoimmune versions of Arthur, but we were not sure about OA.

Well, accordingly to some expert consultants in this field, they say actually you can. Where you body is going through a wear and repair phase. Osteoarthritis causes thinning of cartilage etc, which in turn means over a period of enough time or severity can cause bones to rub together. The body, being the amazing feat of engineering that it is, will try and ‘repair’ this damage, often building extra bone to try and cover the damage, but actually making things worse. In tune with this, there is often inflammation from this process, which can cause problems too.
They say this process of wear and repair is in effect some kind of flare, which will settle down after a period of repair.

But sufferer’s of Arthur also complain a lot that their pains and stiffness get worse with the onset of damp or cold weather, and if you add fibromyalgia to the mix which also has periods of ‘flare’ effecting the same sort of areas, but in a muscular sense, it’s hard to know where one thing starts and another one ends.

All I know is that the moment it has got either colder or damper, I get more hurty! I’ve even got some fingerless gloves and have worn them on occasion which cover my knuckles which is where my hand pain is focused to stop that deep nasty ache like knitting needles between your fingers.

Sleep is off and on, and varies greatly it has to be said. The deal is getting a balance. I will probably never been an eight hours a night kind of girl, so acceptance is half the battle here. To know you are going to have crap sleep is half way to accepting and dealing with it. The other half is getting the balance right so you don’t go too far the other way.

I’ve waffled on about my eyes before, but today they are sore and tired. There are two reasons for this. One, I did a review of a document which was detailed and I was therefore having to stare hard. Hard on anyone’s eyes. Two, I woke up with a start this morning, hence opening my very dry eyes and ouch! Like tearing a wax strip off someone’s leg!

I was tossing and turning all night last night which was really annoying and probably annoying for hubby too. Poor man has enough to contend with, let alone a ferret in the bed next to him.

So, that didn’t help but ideally when I wake up, I lever myself up sitting then slowly open my eyes over the period of a few minutes. I can navigate my way blind from the bedroom to the bathroom so generally have no trouble having this eye open time.

This morning though, I opened them too quick, and as they were tired from staring and tired from not sleeping, it was not going to be pretty.

So having too much sleep on the rare night I am in a comatose state is bad. Eyes stay shut too long, dry out, bad idea!

Too little sleep, eyes tired, dry out, bad idea!

Have a few hours sleep, open eyes slowly, works better. It’s the way it has to be to not stumble round the house looking like the living dead, and to actually be able to drive to work with less than 10 pairs of super strength sun glasses on because the sun dared to peek out from behind a cloud and set off my photophobia.

Still, from a spectator’s point of view, I’m probably amusing to watch!

Not much also has gone on though. My last entry probably said everything I was feeling about dad, but life ticks on and waits for no-one.

Oh, but the schools started back, so that was something! One child at high school, one in year one, all seems to be reasonable at the moment, as far as these things go, so that’s good.

Not liking the extra traffic again though! Not that I like traffic full stop really. Because most traffic includes lots of people who have forgotten how to drive. You know, little things, like indicating, and being in the lane you actually need to be in, or in fact, driving at more than half the speed allowed on the road in glorious technicolor road conditions. Drivers seem to have lost their manners to tell other people what their intentions are. Maybe there was a hand out of psychic powers going round which I forget to subscribe to, but if you need to go left, please tell me, so I know that is where you want to go. Not hard, just those little flashy orange things that are a really useful gadget for communicating with other drivers.

I was reading a news story about parent and child parking spaces and the debate of people abusing them. We all know there are limp biscuits out there who abuse disabled spaces to pop to the cash point or whatever when they are perfectly OK, but there were people complaining about these parent and child places being abused as well.

You can leave comments at the end of the article. So with all that was going in the world with various war stories, political battles, sad and tragic stories, not to mention the infamous council family with 75,000 kids get a new home at Buckingham palace courtesy of the tax payer with breakfast hand delivered type story, all of whom warrant maybe 50-60 comments over a period of time, this one got over 700!

A lot from mothers complaining about abusers of the spaces, and a lot complaining about ‘why should mothers get preferential treatment over other people’ and the debate about market forces and supermarkets sweetening those who spend more in the stores, to saying all mothers with children are all fat and therefore the spaces should be put at the back of the store to make them walk.

They even suggested charging them for the use of, and having to produce a child as proof to get you money back, and then some sensible soul said ‘why don’t we just have all spaces wider’ thus dessimating the entire argument! You gotta love it! This is the typical opinion of the nation. Rather debate over a parking space than the Iraq war or failing health systems, or political decisions and how it may affect all our futures. That would be too easy!

People make me laugh, how they prioritise their agenda’s and what is worth debating over. A cure for cancer, or the straightness of bananas. Tough choices!

Anyway, I digress and shall thus leave you in peace......

Thursday, 26 August 2010

One Year Today...................

It’s just after 10 as I type this. On this day, 26th August 2009, I was just about to do some training with some colleagues. It was using our emergency evacuation chair. For the most part, this was a fun activity, as it involved strapping a ‘volunteer’ into the evac chair and then taking them down stairs, which is what it is designed to do.

It’s fun because depending how quickly you take them down the stairs the paler the person you get at the bottom. Despite the safety features of the chair which meant you could not tip someone over or if you had to let go of the chair, the chair would just stop and not fall down the stairs, and even if you pushed it, brakes on, it wouldn’t budge, the idea of being strapped helpless into a chair and being pushed down some stairs is a bit unnerving!

So we spent this time from 10.00 am until just before lunch doing this activity. I hadn’t taken my phone with me, since we were on a stair well and objects like that were likely to get lost or damaged.

At some point around 11.30 onwards, the phone calls began. My mum left me a message, my aunty left me a message, the nurse at the hospice left me a message, I didn’t hear my phone as it was on my desk.

I got back to my desk just after 12.00 midday. Then my mobile went again. It was my sister. She asked if I was at work, and I said yes, and she was unsure about what to say other than it was about dad. I told her she had to tell me. He has gone into rest bite care only the day before because the pain he was in was worse and it was going to mean better pain relief.

Then she told me Dad had just died, at 12.00 midday.

For a few seconds then I sort of went into really sensible mode, as I asked her where the hospital was (I hadn’t even had chance to visit him there yet), and got directions and said I would be there as soon as I could.

Then I sobbed. At my desk. I’m pretty sure given the quiet environment I work in it would have been heard down the entire office, but you don’t even think about that do you?

I rang Mick to tell him, and then sobbed some more.

My friend came over and just held me. She knew I was trying to leave but decided I was in no fit state to drive anywhere so made me sit and calm down. I calmed down enough to be able to leave. I needed to just go.

It’s strange because today, it’s really wet and dull, really miserable weather. And that day was just the same. I went home and got some stuff together. We decided I would go on my own, it would be best. I didn’t want my kids to have to see their granddad like that.

I drove to the hospital in the rain, tears streaming. I’m not sure how I did it, only that I did, and I got to where I was about 20 minutes away and I suddenly felt sick. I have never seen anyone dead before, never, and I was about to go and see my dad, my own father, and he wouldn’t be alive. It just hit me like a ton of bricks. How the hell was I supposed to handle that?

When I arrived at the hospital, the rain had eased and the sun was starting to come through. I parked the car somehow and the first thing I realised was that I was desperate for the loo. Just my bodily functions had carried me so far but now needed to be sorted.

I went in and told them who I was, and if I could use the loo. I went in and straight away set off the panic alarm thinking it was a light switch. I was in such a mess, nothing worked like it should have and I felt like jelly, nothing was stable at all.
I came out to see two of my aunties, tearful and came over to hug me. They led me slowly to Dad’s room.

There were no words for my reaction when I saw him there. No words could describe that crushed feeling I had. I couldn’t breathe, or speak, or stand up, or live. It was like everything stopped. I buried my head into my sister, more for support as I just felt like I was going to implode.

When I managed to get my breathing under control my mum held out her hand to me and said ‘come and see your Dad’.

Everyone was in the room, so quiet.

Dad looked so peaceful, so very peaceful. He knew it was his time, he had even delayed coming to the hospice for a day because he just ‘knew’. He had become unwell that morning, it had been so quick.

He went through a period mum said where he was frightened and scared about dying, because he knew it was so close. And she said just before the end, he was smiling and said he had seen something move across his bed, like it was someone he knew and all the fear just went from his face, and just before he died he waited for mum to tell him it was OK to go, and then he went.

My mum and sister had told me they were glad that they had not managed to get me before he passed away, because I would have tried to kill myself to get there to say goodbye and would have no made it.

After a while, we had some time alone with him, each of us in turn to say our goodbyes.

I talked to Dad for a while, told him I loved him, held his hand and then kissed him. I left a tear on his cheek and then left the room.

It’s funny, because you don’t want to leave, but you know you have to, that goodbye, it’s like they are still there, listening, watching.

Funerals to me are more for other people to pay their respects and say goodbye, but for me, my goodbye was then, in that room, on my own with him.

I’ve never seen anything like that, and I’ve never felt anything that made me feel the way I did. I’ve had grief before. When I lost my grandparents, one after the other, but being so much younger, it wasn’t as raw, sad, but not quite the same. But this time it was just so intense.

Dad was cremated on the 4th September, and mum, my sister and I took his ashes and scattered them on his favourite beach in Wales. It was the 20th September and the weather was amazing. It was like mother nature had specially arranged for us to have a beautiful day to send him off with.

I can’t believe that was a year ago. People say things get easier as time goes on, you never forget, but it just feels that bit less painful.
I think over the year I’ve handled things pretty well. I’ve had my moments when I have cried for no reason thinking of something he said or catching a glimpse of the picture of him over my desk, but it wasn’t until the last couple of weeks it’s struck me how much I’ve been grieving but just not obviously, and I’ve been down and tearful because of it.

I didn’t want to face today, but I know I need to. It’s all part of the process after all.

So rest in peace Dad, love you always.